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Schulze to lead MSO for three more years

February 07, 2002

Schulze to lead MSO for three more years


When trying to replace Music Director Barry Tuckwell, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra hoped to find someone who would stay awhile.


Elizabeth Schulze, who took up the baton three years ago, said Wednesday morning she was signing on for another three years.

"It is my delight to be in this community and to have the privilege to work with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra," Schulze said during a press conference to announce her new three-year contract with the MSO. "And I hope that it is an ongoing relationship beyond."

"It's been an exciting three years," said Marjorie Hobbs, president of the MSO board of directors, during a morning session in the community room of Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center.


"Our thanks to Ms. Schulze for making it possible," said Hobbs, who announced the new contract with Schulze.

Brendan Fitzsimmons, a member of the MSO board, said Schulze is valuable as an artist who challenges the orchestra and is dedicated to educating the community.

One of Schulze's strengths is the ability to challenge musicians with music from across the symphonic palette, he said.

"She has made a dedicated effort to improve the quality of performance in terms of the sound the orchestra presents," Fitzsimmons said. "And she has done a good job of walking the line between introducing us to new music while at the same time striving to perform as many of the masterpieces as possible."

Schulze's original contract was to have expired at the end of this, the symphony's 20th anniversary season. She is a conducting assistant and cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic, and has in the past served with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington and the Buffalo Philharmonic in Buffalo, N.Y.

"I love living in this community," Schulze said. "Once I was here I realized this is a place I want to be for a long time. And this is an orchestra with opportunities for artistic growth and social outreach potential."

MSO Executive Director Marc Levy said the symphony does not disclose salary information, preferring to keep negotiations private.

"The board tries to make sure we're competitive, so we look at other orchestras," he said.

The only surprise about Schulze's performance was how quickly time has passed.

"The time has just flown by and it's been wonderful," Levy said. "She's able to get great music out of the orchestra and the orchestra responds."

The MSO's operating budget for fiscal year 2003 will be $960,916. Artistic personnel expenditures, including musicians, music director and guest artists, account for 45 percent, or $432,412.20, of the budget.

Next season's schedule

On tap for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra's 21st season in 2002-03 is the usual slate of MasterWorks, Pops! and Holiday performances. Leading off the schedule will be the annual Salute to Independence at Antietam National Battlefield on Saturday, July 6.

Guest artists next season will be pianists Ursula Oppens, in October, and Esther Budiardjo in March. MSO principal trombone Wayne Wells will be featured during The Symphony's Own concert in November, and MSO concertmaster Leonid Sushansky will take center stage in January.

Missing from the schedule is the Family Concert, a program in its second year this season. Levy said that like other new programs, it will be evaluated later this year before a decision is made on future programs.

This season's Family Concert, featuring the Magic Circle Mime Co., takes place in April; Levy said he expects a decision about future programs to be made in early summer.

Averaging a ticket sale increase every other year, Levy said prices will hold steady next season, with individual seats for MasterWorks series performances or the MSO Pops! concert ranging from $12 to $50.

Schulze announced an additional performance to conclude the symphony's 20th season. On Saturday, June 22, at Hagerstown Community College's Alumni Amphitheater, the orchestra will present A Night in Vienna, featuring music written by the Strauss family.

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